Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Maersk Alabama" Crew Does Us Proud

Apologizing for America and harping on its myriad failures, both real and imaginary, during his recent self-indulgent whirlwind sweep through European capitals, Mr. Obama's anemic and embarrassing kumbaya performance is in stark contrast to the steely backbone and resolve displayed by the unarmed Maersk Alabama crewmen who recaptured control of their ship from Somali pirates on Wednesday.

As I listened to the news yesterday, I quickly recalled America's undeclared wars with N. African pirates in 1805 and 1815, the so-called Barbary Wars, which were successfully prosecuted by America's then fledgling naval and marine forces. Still reeling from the heavy losses sustained during the Revolutionary War, until America was able to bring its military power to bear America had no choice but to pay ransom to these pirates for years in order to protect its merchant ships plying the Mediterranean. At one point, the ransom amounted to nearly 20% of America's national budget! But, with the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 behind, America was finally able to successfully stop cold the attacks and the ransoms.

And here we are two centuries later with an unarmed American merchant ship transporting relief supplies to E. Africa attacked by pirates. Unlike attacks on ships of other nations, the courageous American crew wouldn't give up the ship, nor would they be cowed by their assailants. It didn't matter if the American crew was unarmed. They simply weren't going to surrender. This precisely illustrates what an Americans' character is all about. And at a time when our government appears to be embarked on a foolhardy path of self-abasement and appeasement, the Alabama crew should make us all feel a full measure of pride once again.

In all of this, what strikes me as acutely inane is the prohibition against a crew's carrying weapons to defend themselves against attack. Looks like insurance liability issues alone take precedence over the common sense prioritywhich should be the safety of our crews. This insanity must end, failing which America must exert overwhelming military force against the pirates' Somalian coastal bases. Complete "shock and awe" would put them and others everywhere on notice that Americans aren't to be trifled with under any circumstances. Unquestionably, such a credible show of force would be an effective deterrent, but for obvious reasons my guess is that it just won't happen. Not on this Administration's watch anyway.

Why? Our Chief Executive's sophomoric kumbaya foreign policy clearly militates against such a forthright demonstration of strength, national sovereignty and resolve. I suspect he might will be content now and in the future to rely on hostage negotiations alone and, by implication and extension, shipping company ransom payments later. Doesn't it just tug at your patriotic heart strings to know that Mr. Obama occupies our once venerable White House?

The courageous American crew who wouldn't give up the ship or be cowed by our enemies should make us all mindful of who we are and who we want to continue to be--justifiably proud and thoroughly unapologetic Americans. Yes, we value compassion and generosity, but, historically, we haven't abided being trod upon. Unfortunately, I am convinced these are American values not entirely shared by our effete Chief Executive or by his transnational minions in the State Department.

Let's hope this post-American Chief Executive learns something from this intrepid American crew. Who knows. He might even start feeling and acting like a proud and unapologetic American himself. Perhaps it's merely a matter of a learning curve he must navigate before he finally gets there. Let's hope the ephiphany comes sooner rather than later. Hopefully, not too much later. Anything's possible, I suppose. But, I, for one, am not holding my breath. I believe I understand what we have today in the White House guiding our precious nation. And that disturbing reality should give us all pause.